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Kickstarting echoChamber: A New Party Rhythm Game

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 6th, 2013

Approaching things differently from the rest is always good, right? That's what the folks at Little Bit Games are clearly thinking, too. Having previously covered their efforts earlier in the year, my interest was piqued thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign they've recently launched.

EchoChamber is the title hoping to be funded by it. It's described as a rhythm game with a "unique twist." It's a free-to-play local multiplayer title that uses positional audio to get players to follow various cues and perform gestures in time with the music. I took the time to learn more from Cody Lee, co-founder and developer at Little bit Games.

148Apps: How did the idea for echoChamber come about?
Cody Lee (CL): The idea for echoChamber came about after playing the game SpaceTeam with friends. It seemed like such a unique and original idea and utilized your phone for multiplayer in a way that I’d never seen before. It kinda blew my mind and I started to think of other ways we could use mobile devices for multiplayer experiences that you couldn’t get on any other platform. I spent a lot of time picturing people physically standing around with friends, trying to come up with games that required that physical space, and that used the capabilities of modern cell phones.

148Apps: Why the decision to be free to play?
CL: echoChamber is a multiplayer only game, and is more fun the more people you are playing with. It seemed natural for us to release the game as a free download so people can start playing it as easily as possible with their friends without requiring everybody to commit to purchasing it. We’ll be releasing additional tracks as paid DLC for people who want to extend their experience beyond the base tracks.

148Apps: How hard has it been to implement the positional sound effects?
CL: Doing the positional audio itself isn’t too bad. It’s really just a matter of adjusting volume for the different devices to get the desired effect we want. The hardest part has been synching the playback of the track on all of the devices while accounting for network latency. If the sound is out of sync at all, the positional effect is lost, and you get more of an echo. If it’s REALLY out of sync it just sounds like garbage!

148Apps: What other challenges have you faced?
CL: echoChamber started out as more of a Pong-like game where sound would move around and players would have to tap their screens to hit the “ball” away. The problem is it’s hard to know when the ball has reached you. It get’s louder so you know it’s closer, but how loud is the “loudest” and “closest”. That’s why we ended up going the rhythm game route. When there’s a set beat, and the ball moves to the beat, it’s easier to know when the sound will “hit”. We’ve since moved away from the Pong aspect of the game and are focusing more on an overall fun musical experience instead.

148Apps: When do you hope to release echoChamber?
CL: If the Kickstarter goes well, we hope to release some time early next year. If it doesn’t go well... we’re not sure.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 27, with a wide selection of backer rewards to cover everyone's budget.

Thanks to Cody for taking the time to answer our questions. We'll be sure to keep an eye on echoChamber's progress.

Recurse Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Jennifer Allen on August 15th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: DISTINCTIVE
Wave your arms in the air like you just don't care: the entire principle behind party game, Recurse.
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Epic Raiders Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 30th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WALK THE LINE
It may not be the first strategy/party-focused/line-dragging RPG, but it just might be the best.
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Let Anthm Supply the Music for Your Next Party

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on February 21st, 2012

How much time have you spent culling your music library before a party in order to create the perfect playlist? Even worse, what about when that embarrassing Ace of Bass song slips past your defenses and your friends all snicker as you fumble with your iPhone while "I Saw the Sign" blasts through the speakers? Anthm wants to eliminate such problems by being your official mobile jukebox, using the power of Rdio to supply your party with a nearly limitless supply of tunes.

Anthm taps into Rdio's library of over 15 million songs and allows party attendees to control the playlist by voting songs up or down on the fly. You can also make requests by punching in specific songs and artists in order to hear that track that's been stuck in your head for days.Anthm is free to download, but whoever signs in as the party's host must have an Rdio account in order to use the app. No more subjecting your personal music collection to scrutiny, let Anthm supply the tunes for you.

Find A Fresh Perspective With Youreka

Posted by Blake Grundman on November 25th, 2011

The word eureka is defined as "an exclamation of triumph on discovering or solving something."  Finding out something new is always exciting, except for when it can be something about yourself.  The new party game Youreka (a play on the phonetic spelling of eureka) is all about using friends to gain a little bit more perspective about how people perceive you.

Conducted much like a "couch play" style trivia game for three to six players, the game first asks the subject a question about themselves.  The device is then passed around the crowd, with the mob also answering the question about that specific person.  Everyone then gets to see how the prediction fared against the masses.  Some of the answers may be enlightening, but most of all it is the chance to bring friends together as a group, to participate in something fun.

Games can be as short as fifteen minutes and as long as multiple hours, so be sure to give this conversation starter a good look.  Who knows?  It may very well open your eyes...


TuneTug Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on August 23rd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CLEVER
An ingenious solution to knowing what music would be popular at a party.
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WWDC Rapidly Approaching; We'll Be There; Parties; and iPad Art Exhibit

Posted by Jeff Scott on May 27th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

It's that time of year again, WWDC is rapidly approaching. While we the rumors are that we won't see a new iPhone this year, nothing is official yet. What we hope we'll see is a major technological leap in iOS 5. Personally I'm expecting it to be the biggest new OS, feature wise, we've ever seen for iOS.

Will Steve Jobs give the keynote? Will there even be a keynote? We'll know all, or at least most of this, in just a little over a week.

Meet with 148Apps
But if you are a developer and you are at WWDC and have a new iOS game or app you'd like to show off, we'd love to see it. To schedule a meeting, just send a message to me at jeff.scott at this domain and we can set something up.

Parties are always big at WWDC. This year looks to be no exception. One plus we have this year is JDMdesign have created an iOS application to track all of the parties during the week. Grab it to keep track of the parties each night.

Future / Canvas
Also starting the week of WWDC is the second Future/Canvas iPad art exhibit. This fantastic exhibit of iPad created art and generative art applications was a smash hit last year. This year it looks to be greatly expanded. Starting with the opening night party on June 6th, through 23rd of June. This is absolutely not to be missed!

NaturalMotion Games Forms; Jenga for iOS Announced

Posted by Jeff Scott on November 19th, 2010

As I mentioned in our Backbreaker 2: Vengeance Preview, I recently got a chance to sit down with NaturalMotion CEO and co-founder, Torsten Reil. We talked games, coffee, and how NaturalMotion have created some amazing, geeky stuff.

NaturalMotion Games is the new publishing wing of NaturalMotion. While they have released one game on multiple platforms previously, their main focus was developing and selling physics engines to game developers. These engines have shown up in some games you may have heard of such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Tony Hawk Ride, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. These are not lightweight physics we're talking about either -- not some simple ragdoll stuff. But some high end stuff that allows the models react to and interact with their environment.

NaturalMotion Games was formed after the amazing success of Backbreaker Football, particularly on the iOS platform. They currently have 6 games in development including Backbreaker 2: Vengance mentioned earlier and Jenga. A digital representation, in the geekiest form, of the classic table game.

Jenga takes that classic party game and brings it to your iOS device. And in NaturalMotion style, it's done so with amazing realism. They worked closely with Leslie Scott, the inventor of the game Jenga, to make sure it was accurate. This isn't just a simple demo with a stack of blocks, true care has been taken to bring the fun and the intricacies of the game to the iOS platform.

In the game of Jenga, you pick pieces out of a column of blocks and place them on the top of the stack. Picking the right blocks at the right time and deciding where to place them is the key to winning. In this version, you pick a block by tapping on it once -- there will then be white (clear to pull out) or red (stuck -- hard to pull out) markers on the piece. You then tap and drag the direction you want to pull the piece out -- from the side, end, etc. Once the piece is out, you place it on the top of the stack. Easy, right? Well, there's a lot more to the game than that, but that's how it's played.

NaturalMotion have added an Arcade Mode to the game, something that would have been really tough to do in a real-world version. The Arcade Mode is sort of a match-3 Jenga. You get extra points by pulling out blocks of the same color and placing them in full levels at the top of the stack. The more you match, the more points you get.

Care has been taken to bring back the traditional social aspects of Jenga to a traditionally single player device. There's both pass and play and network play available. And, of course, Game Center integration. They are also working on other possible game play modes to make it even more social.

One thing is for sure, there are some real nerds at NaturalMotion Games, and that's a really great thing. The attention to detail and the amazing reality of their games just blows me away. Bringing that passion for realism to Jenga, a game we all know and love, is awesome. Look for Jenga in the App Store soon.

Drinkspiration by Absolut

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Dave Spatholt on July 8th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FREE TASTES GREAT
If you're looking for fun and interesting ways to come by new drinks then you should pop out your wallet and pay for a drink because there isn't a sweeter tasting chaser than a price like free.
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Here Come E3 and WWDC! Going? Let's Meet Up!

Posted by Jeff Scott on May 15th, 2009

The next few weeks are going to be exciting for the iPhone community. First up we have E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo in LA. This huge video game conference is where all of the great hardware and games get announced for the year. While the iPhone isn't going to play a major role in this show, it will likely make a larger showing than any other mobile phone has in the past. We'll be reporting from the show any fantastic things we come across.

The week following that, WWDC will be in San Francisco. This yearly developers conference hosted by Apple is where all the big iPhone news comes out. Or at least it has in the past. While rumors are mixed, we could see the release of the 3.0 OS, and maybe even a new iPhone or two. We'll keep you posted.

148Apps will be a sponsor the the second iPhone Developers Union meet up at WWDC. The event will be held at Jillians in the Metreon on Monday night, June 8th at 7pm. For more information, see the @iPhoneDevUnion Twitter stream.

If you're an iPhone developer, we'd love to meet up with you at either conference and see what you are working on. Just let us know what time is good for you. Send us an email or hit us up on Twitter.